Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539
Mark Rayne (Memories) - 1961 to 1967

A note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your F.G.S. web pages, especially the item about Nuncs who tried to teach me Latin for three years. Chris Drew and I once visited Nuncs at his home in Crookham (possibly summer 1967). He had a pipe organ in his house. When I enquired if the noise upset his neighbours he replied that the neighbour on one side was deaf and the one on the other side was mad!

Regarding Dr. Sewell; I don't know if he was actually alcoholic, but when he took our form for maths in our fourth(?) year (about 1963/4) the people at the front of the class said he reeked of whisky fumes during first lessons after lunch. I had a hard time with him. My arithmetic was always poor and he ridiculed me publicly for it. On one occasion when I checked my work carefully and corrected some errors, he accused me of “cookery” (i.e. copying from someone else) which I found offensive, since it wasn't true. In general, he was very damaging to moral. I think he was generally disliked.

I was put in detention by The Jab when I was a prefect. I was greatly offended, and thought it was not my fault. A number of us had turned up at Mr. Jones’ biology lab. For some reason he shouted at us very loudly (as was his wont) when we arrived and told us to go away and do something else because he was too busy to teach us (perhaps he had been asked to cover for someone else). So we went down to the main field to play cricket, thinking it was legitimate. Then The Jab walked down and got in a rage with us for playing cricket during school time, ordered us up to his office, and put us all in detention, prefects and all. As far as I can remember, he never gave us a chance to blame Mr. Jones. I suppose we should have known better.

At the end of my first year, The Jab wrote very negative remarks on the end of my report, saying I was almost bottom of the Form, and that I would have to work much harder if I wanted to stay in such a good Form. My father was pretty annoyed about his attitude, and wrote back to say that I had been working very hard and that Dr. Bourne obviously didn’t have a clue about about who I was or how hard I was working (I don’t remember if I was really working hard, but I ended up at a better university than a lot of the others in that Form).

You won’t remember Mr. Shaw, the German teacher - we used to call him the ‘Mekon’ in about 1964 because of obvious resemblances to the Dan Dare character. I had a detention from him for muttering ‘Mekon’ too loudly.

I laughed aloud at the ‘Dikalogue’ - it brings so much back to mind. I remember RK lessons in one of the temporary classrooms on the East Field (the southernmost classroom). On one occasion we found it entertaining to push open the fire door at the back of the room, slip out and come back in (repeatedly) through the main door, probably apologising for lateness each time. On another occasion, I remember the air being full of flying balls of screwed-up paper, at least one of which bounced off Mr. Richard's nose (and he never commented). I remember him saying once or twice how much he admired Jews. How on earth could he have stood the job for so long? In my later years there, he seemed to address himself exclusively to one or two “goody-two-shoes” sitting at the front of the room, ignoring the mayhem going on all around.

He was replaced by Mr. Holley in about 1965/6. Mr. Holly was bearded. He was a much sterner proposition. I remember Mike Webb having a philosophical argument with him.

The first name of Mr. Smith (Reg or Reggie) was Reginald. He taught my mother before he taught me. She said they were all scared of him, and I also found him frightening. (He gave me a detention in my first lesson with him in my first week at F.G.S., for poking a friend with a ruler through the hand-hole in his lab stool). I expect we found it entertaining (but wouldn't have dared to laugh) when he taught us about “regelation” by suspending two weights joined by wire across the top of a huge block of ice. Lessons with him were characterized by silence and fear (not very good for learning). My mother was at school with Tom Pascoe.

Mark Rayne : October 2011

Mark also contributed the invaluable photograph of The Jab which heads the Home page and may be seen in greater detail here

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